Horses on parade and pets win prizes during weekend of family fun

HOT TO TROT Crowds watch the heavy horse show.  Pictures: Paul Jacobs (121592-2)
HOT TO TROT Crowds watch the heavy horse show. Pictures: Paul Jacobs (121592-2)

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IT might have been a gloomy bank holiday weekend – but that didn’t stop hundreds of people enjoying the sight of majestic heavy horses trotting along the turf at Southsea,

The sound of thunderous hooves could be heard at Castle Field as horses of all breeds and colours took part in an obstacle course race in the first round of the Gales national heavy horse obstacle driving championships.

PRIZE Most handsome dog winner Pemba with owner Mark Kotas, 51.  (121589-1)

PRIZE Most handsome dog winner Pemba with owner Mark Kotas, 51. (121589-1)

A total of nine horses pulling wagons took it turns to trot around the course trying to get the fastest time on Sunday.

The event, part of the annual Heavy Horse show, was to finish today with all the horses that took part parading through the streets of Southsea wearing rosettes.

Gary Cross, 43, of Farlington, enjoyed the event with his wife Linda, 42, and children Emily, 11, and Joshua, aged seven.

‘The horses looked beautiful,’ Mr Cross said.

‘It’s the second time we’ve come to this.

‘It’s a shame about the weather, but I don’t think it’s been too bad.’

John Lovatt, who founded the heavy horse show 27 years ago, said: ‘The attendance wasn’t as big as other years but I think that’s down to people not having a lot of money.

‘I’m still happy with the turnout though.

‘People come along because it’s great fun and the horses are amazing to look at.’

The weekend’s events on the common also included the K9 Capers dog show.

Scores of dog-lovers braved the rain and signed up their pooches to categories for the chance of winning rosettes and bragging rights.

There were prizes for the waggiest tail, dog most like its owner, dog the judge would most like to take home, kindest eyes, most handsome dog, prettiest bitch, best puppy, best child handler and best six legs (dog and owner).

A judge from the Stubbington Ark animal shelter in Fareham, got owners to walk their pets around the green before deciding upon winners and the remaining top five places for each category.

Proud owner Mark Kotas, of Victoria Road South, Southsea, was all smiles after his pet Pemba – a Rhodesian Ridgeback – was voted the most handsome dog.

Mr Kotas, 51, said: ‘I’m delighted that he won. I’ve entered him into the show for the last two years now but he’s never managed to win first place before.

‘It’s a bit of fun, and it’s great meeting up with other people. I’ll be giving him extra food as a treat.’

As part of the weekend, visitors were treated to an arts and crafts market, pony and donkey rides, a vintage tea tent and a funfair.